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Beyond Co-op Reviews: December 2021 - Page 2

Mario Party Superstars

Review by: Paul Acevedo

Nintendo’s Mario Party series has been going strong since the N64 days. Some players feel that newer games like 2018’s Super Mario Party have over-complicated the experience. This year’s Mario Party Superstars embraces a back-to-basics approach, limiting the character selection to 10 favorites and offering a selection of five game boards taken from the first three N64 installments and over 100 minigames taken from the first 10 numbered Mario Party games.

Mario Party is, of course, an interactive board game in which up to four human and AI players travel around the board, collecting coins, competing in minigames, and trying to win by amassing the most stars. The boards offered here do a great job of capturing the appeal of the series while also including minor updates to their looks and rules to create a fresh experience. The selection of minigames is very strong, and the host player can even choose to limit the minigames by their original platform (N64, GameCube, etc.) or genre.

One common complaint about Super Mario Party is that it only launched with an online minigame mode, not the full online board game mode (full online play came in a free update earlier this year). In contrast, Mario Party Superstars comes with full online play right out of the gate. After selecting online play and then choosing to start a game, players will enter a screen in which they can toggle matchmaking for each of the available boards. You can’t set matchmaking parameters like game length, unfortunately, but it’s still a decently functional system. Communication is limited to character-themed stamps during gameplay. Despite occasional lag spikes, the online game I played was genuinely fun. Being able to enjoy the multiplayer experience even when you don’t have friends over certainly adds to the value of this installment.

Between games, the coins earned from gameplay can be spent on a small variety of unlockables like encyclopedia entries, music tracks, and customizations for the player’s ID card. It’s a shame that we can’t buy new playable characters. All local players get to earn coins for their own profiles (as long as they’re signed in), which is a nice touch. Minigames can also be played separately from the main board game mode.

I’m no Mario Party expert, having only played four or five games in the series. Still, Mario Party Superstars is an easy recommendation to casual and serious fans alike. The board and minigame selection will offer countless hours of multiplayer fun, and online play is good enough to extend the party even further. If you’re looking for a fun party game at home or on the go, make sure you land on Mario Party Superstars.

Mario Party Superstars sells for $59.99 in digital and physical formats.

Our Rating: 4.5 out of 5